Women’s Tour 2013 Review

Cardiff, Iceni, LLL, Nationals, Nice Bristols, PUNT, SYC, Tour 3, Tournament Reports, Women's Tour, xEUCF
With Charlie Blair away on U23 duties the review of the Women’s season falls to me (DP), hope I can do it justice. It was an absolute corker!

A fortnight has passed and the dust has settled on Women’s Tour 3 in Cardiff. With considerably less teams than we started with (15 down from 21) and some great battles at previous Tours, most would have expected Iceni to take this tournament with ease. However things were not quite there for the ‘full fat’ squad with a few key players missing and the Welsh heat taking its toll on many. I have since spoken with some of the Iceni players and they agree that Nice Bristols outplayed the overall champs. I asked Sarah “Saz” Garner, Nice Bristols captain, whether this was the first time that this had occurred and how it felt:
“Yep, this is the first time since the club was formed that we’ve won a Tour, which feels like an incredible achievement. I’m quite tempted to retire my captaincy on this high! I think we’ve all known for a long time that we’re capable of doing it on paper, but we’ve never actually managed to string the right set of results together over one weekend before.”

When asked what was different SG mentioned Iceni missing their World Games players at this tournament, and Fran (Scarampi), a huge player for them, is still recovering from a dislocated shoulder” however she stressed that they were also missing Ali (Smith) and Brigid (Harty) – both GB players in Japan last year”. This doesn’t mean to say that Iceni or Nice Bristol are both solely made up of superstars but as SG correctly pointed out “a lot of the play can go through the well known faces, and that can leave a bit of uncertainty when they’re not around. I personally felt that Iceni didn’t quite have the confidence in themselves that they usually do, and I think we capitalised on that by coming out firing in the early part of the game both times we played them.”

Charlie Blair about to get horiztonal in the final. Photo courtesy of Louise Smith.
A key to Nice Bristols success and the growth of women’s Ultimate in the UK is the development of younger players and getting them to play in big semis and finals [which] is something Bristol have been keen on for a long time, and I think that women’s clubs up and down the country are now seeing the benefit of doing this too.”

Massive congratulations to Nice Bristol on their T3 victory, looking further down the results we see Punt displacing both LeedsLeedsLeeds and SYC to take third, finishing off a great rising season. With the exception of ROBOT (who fell from 4th to 9th) and the rising Nice Bristol 2 team (who grabbed the last top 8 spot) the remaining positions were as expected. A special mention to a Rebel player who in the first game had to be taken off the field by paramedics, we wish you a speedy recovery back in Ireland! 

So that’s Tour over and done below we can see the full results using the official UKU points

The regular season movement in the 2013 Women’s Tour.

Full official results can also be found here.
The T3 final did little for the overall standings with Iceni still coming out top, Savage do appear rather low down but that would be due to only attending the first two events. On average they would move up a couple slots. 

It is promising to see more and more Women’s teams springing up and 3 clubs able to put out regular second teams and still keep the skill level high. I continued to ask SG if this require anything different in training:
“I think we’ve had the skills there for a while. Making the Nationals Final last year, and performing well at our first EUCF (6th and Spirit) did a lot for our individual and team confidence about playing at a high level, and whilst we continue to bring new players into the mix, there are a good core of us that have been playing together for several seasons now and have a good understanding of each other. In the past couple of seasons we’ve upped the intensity of our training sessions throughout the year, so that stepping up a gear at Tour doesn’t come as a complete shock, and I think that has gradually allowed us to start winning those games that previously we didn’t quite have the belief or experience to do.”

Sarah continued by saying that
“… it’s really important to remember that we play together for fun, and no matter what the scoreline and whoever the opposition, we try and have a bit of banter with everyone on the sideline to keep things lighthearted and keep ourselves relaxed, which is when we play our best. My captains speeches usually try to reflect this, and usually turn into me digging myself out of a hole I’ve just created. Highlight of this weekend being ‘look after yourselves ladies, and stay wet’. I meant hydrated…”

Now what? Well there is no regionals for the Women’s division, yet, but Nationals is only a month away now. I asked Sarah what will Nice Bristols be doing for preparation

“We certainly won’t be looking to change anything major tactically this late in the season, it will be more about building on and tweaking what we have achieved so far. Within the team there is a great sense of trust that everyone will do what they need to to prepare for Nationals individually, and when we come together for training that is only part of that preparation. There is a lot of individual responsibility on players to know what they need to do and when – whether that is at training, on holiday, or during a Tour final – and everyone responds really well to that and puts in the hard yards outside of club training.” 

As ever the positions at Nationals will decide who goes to Euros and this year. With it being xEUCF the UK gets 4 Women’s spots, plus the added pressure of the winner of Nationals getting a WUCC 2014 spot I pressed SG for a prediction for the Euros slots:

“I’d say this year it’s very difficult to call. I think Iceni would still be favourites going into the tournament, given their history, but as for who else is capable of making a final and Euros – Leeds, SYC, Punt, Seven Sisters and, naturally, Nice Bristols, will all be in the mix. It’s going to be a fantastic tournament, probably the closest in years, and I’m sure there will be lots of sudden death spectaculars and more than a few upsets!”

Punt rise high over Leeds but what team will they bring to Southampton? Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss.

My final question looked back at the epic change in weather that we had from Tour 2’s rain, wind and cold to Tour 3’s heatwave, so I asked what Nice Bristol eat or drink to recover from these extremes,

“Vanilla ice cream in a waffle cone with a flake and lots of raspberry sauce. I discovered that this weekend. My teammates were also drinking Pimm’s from Nalgenes on the drive home. It was hot tea after Tour 2 though.”

Let’s hope that Nationals and xEUCF is ice cream weather not hot tea.

Looking forward to the return of Charlie Blair? Do keep supporting the World Games squad with the #gbwg2013 hashtag and following them online however you can! DP @ tSG.

The Grapevine – 19/07

Open Tour, SkyD, The Grapevine, u23, Understanding Ultimate., USA Ultimate, uTalkRaw, Women's Tour, world games

This weeks the Grapevine covers World Games, U23 and Ultimate Frisbee wars!!

The power of the ultimate frisbee community was proven this week with the ulti.tv campaign to make sure the World Games will be broadcasted online, for FREE. We all succeeded and listen out to hear how we can watch those games soon.

With last weeks scorcher at T3 in Cardiff, the regular season is over and full rundown and results will be released soon enough. For now enjoy some footage of Fire 2 vs DED

Benji discusses the combination of Spirit and economics together in Understanding Ultimate.

This weekend sees the start of the WFDF World U23 Ultimate Championships in Toronto follow results here and on twitter you can also follow each squad: Open, Mixed and Women’s. Open will be playing a warm up late tonight and the opening game on Sunday, get involved! Let’s GO GB!!

UTalkRaw talk to Steve Gigure in episode 28 about Lookfly and BlockstackTV including an interesting discussion on the sustainability of ultimate media. Can we last? 

Finally two pieces from the US about the warring factions of pro leagues and the USAU, a great read and analysis from the recent WFDF census with fascinating results on SkyD magazine.

WFDF World u23 Ultimate Championships, Toronto 2013.

Got a cool idea? Want to tell your story? Contribute, email in, comment! DP @ tSG

The Grapevine – 12/07

AFDA, Open Tour, The Grapevine, u23, Understanding Ultimate., uTalkRaw, WFDF, Women's Tour, xEUCF

This weeks super sized The Grapevine has everything from Juniors to U23 to xEUCF 2013.

Last weekend the UKU held the Junior Championships and an inaugural UKU Schools Championships in Birmingham. Airbadgers (Exeter) defended their junior title and Flux (Twycross House School, Leicester) took the schools number one spot, congratulations to them and keep up the great work! Full results here.

Benji gets a little riled (as do many others: see the comments section) discussing incidental contact on his blog Understanding Ultimate.

Tour 3 will be in Cardiff this weekend see how everyone fared in Nottingham with our coverage of Tour 2. All details for this final part of the regular season can be found here. Will anyone challenge Clapham or Iceni? Who will finish in that top 16 and in what order? Who is the fastest man in UK Ultimate? Keep your eyes on twitter with the hashtag #ukut3 for results and more!

Barry O’Kane talks to Tim Morrill on speed and agility training for ultimate, a must listen on UTalkRaw! 

The Australian Flying Disc Association have released the WFDF preliminary U23 World Championship seedings. A huge good luck to all our U23 athletes, let’s go GB! 

The Secret Frizzer gives us more insight into the Tour 2 success of EMO through coach Joe Wynder and for Devon through their coach Sam Luxa. [UPDATED: interview with Alex Cragg by tSF here.]

The TD’s of xEUCF need you! Volunteers make large tournaments run smoothly, think you got what it takes? Fancy visiting Bordeaux in September and getting the highest level ultimate in Europe too? Apply here.

Finally, the Australian U23 Mixed squad have some quirky little videos on their YouTube channel. Check them out, what do you think about them?

Logo courtesy of A.F.D.A.

Remember: like, share and contribute. JCK or I will tweet small tit bits from Cardiff with #ukut3. DP @ tSG.

Tour 2 Review – Women’s

Iceni, Nice Bristols, nottingham, PUNT, SYC, Tournament Reports, UKUT2, Women's Tour
Charlie Blair brings us the Women’s tour review from Tour 2, held at Grove Farm in Nottingham.

The temperate conditions of London Calling became something of a distant memory at Tour 2 in Nottingham. Each division braved merciless winds and on occasion downpours that were no less than tropical! The fact that nearly all the games for the top half of the women’s tour took place on upwind/downwind pitches may have produced some score lines that otherwise wouldn’t have been. But whilst the ultimate wasn’t the prettiest, the weather provided a true test of depth and adaptability, producing some very exciting performances and results along the way.

However, even before the controversy of the wind, the women’s seedings had already been disrupted. With YAKA returning to home soil and ROBOT unfortunately unable to attract enough players to attend, all those outside the top three were bumped up two places. As a result, three of the teams who finished the weekend in the top 4, Iceni, Nice Bristols and LeedsLeedsLeeds, all ended up in the same pool. With Iceni winning all their games and retaining their seed at the top of their group, it was all to play for in the final game of the day between LLL and Nice Bristols for second place. But after having taken the first upwind score, Nice Bristols were unable to hold onto the advantage for long. Despite an effective use of poaches by the Bristol defence, Emilia Cruz’s penetrating deep cuts racked up the points for the northerners. This led to the two teams trading out the game until LLL were able to edge it in sudden death.

Alia Ayub hungry for the score in the endzone. Photo courtesy of Louise Smith

In the other pool, which included those that made the greatest advances at Tour (SYC and Punt), there was no certainty who would finish top until the very last results of the day. SYC were on course to hold seed until a somewhat unexpected loss to Punt. Punt’s confident handling and ‘give and go’ movement won them that first crucial upwind point. Their continued patience earned them a significant lead which SYC didn’t have enough time to comeback from, eventually winning the game 5-3.

This threatened to engineer a three-way tie, which would have seen Iceni Savage scrape the top spot (and a guaranteed semi final) on points difference assuming Punt won their final game against Seven Sisters (or Sistaz). However, the Brighton outfit had finally found their form after a solid defeat to Savage, with captain Kate Ford crediting a team agreement to play more inventively in spite of the challenging weather, as the turning point. They went on to win a highly competitive but markedly spirited game with players making calls against themselves even in high stakes situations. In fact, it wouldn’t be a surprise to find Seven Sisters walking away with the spirit award for the second time. Nevertheless, their victory meant that SYC had escaped dropping seed after all.

As a result of their loss to LLL, Bristol met Iceni in the semis yet again. However, this time round it was a much closer affair. It was a tense first half with Bristol patiently exploiting the width of the pitch and getting under any swirling Iceni discs. But, after having taken the game to 6-6, Bristol unfortunately lost their momentum and Iceni closed out the game 10-6. As a result, Bristol are still chasing their first final of the season and would surely have relished the opportunity to replay SYC after losing to a phenomenal comeback from the Londoners at Tour 1. Will they manage it at Tour 3? Equally, will Leeds continue to climb the rankings? Despite an 11-6 scoreline that suggests SYC somewhat comfortably advanced to the last two, LLL actually won the second half. However, not being able to cope with SYC’s efficient transition from D to O cost them dearly at the beginning of the game, creating a considerable margin that LLL were unable to close.

Iceni Savage had the potential to cause an upset, yet both a clinical Bristol and resilient Seven Sisters performance left them unable to capitalise on the top 4 position they had earned by the end of Saturday. However, with no Savage team attending Tour 3, it’s hoped that teams such as Swift, Crown Jewels and Relentless will be able to push up the table and cause some upsets.

Punt showing off their ‘ups’ during their game against SYC. Photo courtesy of Louise Smith

In contrast to London’s Calling, Tour 2 suggests that the women’s tour is hot on the heels
of Iceni who were particularly tested on the Sunday to ensure they retained the top spot. The final was an extremely hard fought contest which I believe was crucially determined by Iceni managing to not only turn over the disc after having started on D, but then managing to slot in their first upwind score. From this point the two teams traded to half. SYC were unfortunate to not translate ridiculous possession saving grabs up high and horizontal, particularly from key handler, Emma Woodwark, into the breaks they were chasing. Nevertheless, a further source of spectacle was a fantastic match up between World Games hot shots, Jenna Thomson and Bex Forth. Even though Jenna got both a point block and a big lay out D in the end zone on the Iceni captain, Bex still managed to bring home the majority of her team’s points. Moreover, after the half Iceni then had the advantage of starting on offence downwind. This was subsequently topped off with a second upwind point. Thus, despite a highly contested game, Iceni were yet again victorious, with the final ending 12-7.

Movements in the Womens Tour. Courtesy of Wayne Retter.

Even though the wind proved to be both frustrating and tedious, every team upped their game and these improvements are certain to bear fruit in Cardiff. Here’s hoping that the final instalment before Nationals will produce even tighter score lines (and more of them!) that demonstrates an increasingly competitive and high quality level of women’s Ultimate in the UK.  

Apologies for late review; ECBU and real life caught up somewhat! DP @ tSG.

The Grapevine – 21/06

ECBU, Get Horizontal, Open Tour, The Grapevine, u23, Ultiworld, Understanding Ultimate., uTalkRaw, Women's Tour, world games

This weeks The Grapevine has a bit of Tour 2 with a smattering of news from the continent and a big chunk of ECBU!

Barry O’Kane brings us a great episode of UTalkRaw chatting to Liam Kelly on the Matalan Sporting promise and community clubs.

Benji discusses the age-old one hand vs two hand catch debate on UnderstandingUltimate.

As you all know this weekend is Tour 2, all the information you could need is here. Read our preview or for a different perspective, along with our T1 reviews, and make sure to tweet with the hashtag #ukut2.

At Tour 2 the U23 Mixed team are loaning themselves out (not many left, so get on it) to give massages/get water/carry flags. They have also set up the amazing opportunity to pit yourself against their speed gun to see who is the fastest thrower on the tour! For more details check out their FB page or message them.

World Games is only a couple weeks away! Richard “Gash” Harris has made a small trick shot video, go check it out and follow the WG team on Twitter/FB where player profiles are also being released! Sneak a peak at some of the competition on Ultiworld.

Another big GB tournament begins next Thursday in Calafell, Spain. ECBU2013 will see the maximum 7 GB Beach squads pit themselves against Europe’s finest, catch our exciting preview written for SkyD magazine and follow all the action at live.ecbu2013.org

In preparation for ECBU, four GB teams went to Sunburn last weekend. GB Mixed won the tournament and GB Mixed Masters won spirit! Watch out Europe!

Our partners Get Horizontal are celebrating 3000 likes on their FB by having a beach party at ECBU – if you are there join the fun! Also have a read of their Windmill Windup coverage for some great photos and write ups.

So much going on, and we will cover as much as we can! Still looking for a spectator at T2 for tweeting, apply within! Laters, DP @ tSG. 

Open and Women’s Tour – T2 Preview

Chevron, Clapham, Fire of London, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Iceni, Kapow, Nice Bristols, nottingham, Open Tour, Previews, Ranelagh, Women's Tour

Josh Coxon Kelly brings us the OWT2 preview for the upcoming tour event in Nottingham.

The Grove Farm fields in Nottingham are all set to host the second major tournament of the UK open and women’s season, with players flocking from across the country to take part in the huge 80-team tournament that is OWT2.

With the European visitors returned to the mainland the schedule returns to its more familiar domestic team list, although perhaps in a slightly shuffled lineup to past seasons…

Iceni have kept their stronghold at the top of the women’s game in the UK – early looks at Bristol and SYC show teams that have come back stronger than last year with experienced veterans complemented well by young talent benefitting from their involvement in the U23 process. R.O.B.O.T impressed in London but theirs and Yaka’s absences leave a space in the top 4 for Punt, who will be looking to defend their position against a rebranded Brighton – Seven Sisters and a rebuilding Leeds.

Last year’s Open top 4 of Clapham, Chevron Fire and Brighton has been invaded by the GBU23 force and excitingly also by EMO – arguably justifying Joe Wynder’s heated and public defence of his team following The Secret Frizzer’s Tour 1 preview (which prompted this interview). With the EMO captain returning to club duties for this Tour, EMO are looking to hold onto their place amongst the UK elite, but will face stiff competition from Fire, Brighton and Kapow and Ranelagh – all teams who will not wrongly be fighting for a top 2 pool placing and in the straight-to semi’s format. Victory from Clapham will also win them the Tour – needless to say there are enough targets on their back. Could a pool play rematch against GBU23 (10:40 Pitch 15) see an early upset?

Ireland U23 showed in the Tour 1 show game that they have the fight and the skills to run with A tour teams, matching the GB squad for the majority of the first half. They will need to use this lesson in consistency to grow at Tour 2 if they want to come out on top of the dogfight that is this year’s B tour – but this will be no mean feat with teams such as Tooting, Reading and Jest Ridisculous in hot pursuit, as well as strong C tour promotions in Flump and Birmingham, who have leapt to 8th and 10th seed respectively.

The fight for B tour qualification will be equally tense as Curve, Saints, St. Albans and Trigger Happy look to recover from gutting quarter final losses in London (Trigger Happy falling short by a single point in a sudden-death thriller). The 28 strong C-Tour looks as competitive as it’s ever been, and such depth running right through the tournament can be nothing but good news as the increased competition for qualification only continues to make it tighter at the top.

Excited? So are we!! Use the #ukut2 hashtag for results and news over the weekend. Come talk to us if you have any feedback and see you in Nottingham! DP @ tSG.

London’s Calling Review – Women’s

Iceni, London's Calling, Nice Bristols, PUNT, SYC, Tournament Reports, Women's Tour
Charlie Blair finishes off a busy week of London’s Calling reviews with the Women’s division.

London rivals lead the pack at London’s Calling

As expected, London’s Calling did not disappoint, with considerable disruption to the initial seedings at both ends of the women’s tour. The first event of the season saw the two London teams dominate their home turf with Iceni being the only team in the top 10 to retain their original position at the summit of Women’s tour. On the other hand, their local rivals, SYC, celebrated the greatest ascension of all; jumping up the table five seeds above the 7th place they began the weekend with.

Iceni’s quest to the final left a path of destruction in their wake, conceding no more than 8 points in any one match during the whole weekend. Clearly they were determined to assure the women’s tour that their performance at last year’s London’s Calling was a marked anomaly. As their score lines suggested, Iceni were merciless from the off, with every intention to bury each game come the half. This strategy proved to be a success, albeit after an initial wobble during their first pool game against PUNT on the Saturday morning.

Camille Peetroons toeing the line. Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss.

PUNT impressively pulled Iceni apart. And it would seem that this confidence only continued to fortify over the course of the weekend, with them having made a fantastic four seed leap by the close on Sunday. With figureheads Magali Matsumiya and Niamh Delany consistently looking to exploit the breakside they achieved some ambitious and fast pace play that allowed them to trade to the half against the reigning champions. From which point, the depth of Iceni’s squad pushed the pedal to the floor to comfortably see out the game in the end.

From then Iceni, didn’t look back, convincingly seeing off the rest of their pool. This included a somewhat unexpected demolition of YAKA who only managed to take 2 points off the Londoners. The French seemed to have been particularly deflated having lost in sudden death to newcomers ROBOT in the morning. A defeat that ended up seeing ROBOT take the remaining semi final spot that the third seeds had been coveting.

Women’s movers. Courtesy of Wayne Retter.
Nice Bristols looked set to retain their position at top of the other pool, having convincingly thrashed Iceni Savage, Swift and Leeds, and conceding only 13 points from all three games. However, their final game of Saturday turned out to be the ‘one to watch’ of the weekend. SYC romped to victory, having taken the game to sudden death with an incredible comeback from 11-5 down. A gritty performance, with some game changing defence from key players like Romanie Hannah and new addition, GBu23 Women’s captain, Ruby Rennison. As a consequence, SYC avoided Iceni in the semis, leaving Nice Bristols to face the top seeds the following morning. Unfortunately, they faced possibly one of the best defensive team performances of the weekend. Iceni were hungry and ‘heads up’ for turnovers, and dominated the Bristol offence from the get go. However, having had such tight game to the eventual runners up, it would be no surprise to see Nice Bristols in the final at Tour 2…

It was a disappointing weekend for Iceni Savage, LLL, and Seven Sisters, all of whom who were usurped by PUNT, and fell out of the top six. The latter two seemed to have suffered from a considerable shake up in both their rosters, and will hope for some tighter games come Tour 2 now that they have ironed out some initial ‘teething problems’ at London’s Calling. In the case of Seven Sisters, if last year’s performance is anything to go by, a mediocre London Calling finish does not mean they should be written off in Nottingham. Savage were unfortunate to have lost out in the pool stages to two games which ended in sudden death and potentially could have otherwise had a very different weekend. Unsurprisingly, it appears the lack of subs took its toll after this disappointment in their subsequent games.

Newcomer Vanessa Lowe debuting for Iceni Savage. Photo Courtesy of Louise Smith.
Aside from Iceni’s unswerving domination at the top, within the top 8 there really is everything to play for. Will Tour 2 be more of the same, or will we see another big shake up as the season progresses and teams respond to the successes/failures of their debuts? Is there anyone who can knock Iceni off the top spot? It’s safe to say that no one came close on this occasion. Despite SYC successfully earning their place in the final, inconsistency still plagues them. It was not exclusively Bristol whom they only just edged a victory over during the pool stages having also had to take the game to sudden death to defeat Iceni Savage. Equally, they had some spectacular points in the final which really did champion the level of talent on their team, but there remains something about their play that is preventing them from making the step up from not simply challenging their opponents, but dominating them.

So with the speculation and anticipation of London’s Calling over, we now eagerly await the reply…

Bring it!!!

Indeed! With only a week away till T2 I certainly can’t wait! Like, share, contribute and comment. DP @ tSG.